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Public Act 097-0152


 

Public Act 0152 97TH GENERAL ASSEMBLY

  
  
  

 


 
Public Act 097-0152
 
SB0079 EnrolledLRB097 05361 NHT 45416 b

    AN ACT concerning education, which may be referred to as
the Charter School Quality Law.
 
    Be it enacted by the People of the State of Illinois,
represented in the General Assembly:
 
    Section 3. The State Finance Act is amended by adding
Section 5.786 as follows:
 
    (30 ILCS 105/5.786 new)
    Sec. 5.786. The State Charter School Commission Fund.
 
    Section 5. The School Code is amended by changing Sections
27A-3, 27A-5, 27A-8, 27A-9, and 27A-12 and by adding Sections
27A-7.5 and 27A-7.10 as follows:
 
    (105 ILCS 5/27A-3)
    Sec. 27A-3. Definitions. For purposes of this Article:
    "At-risk pupil" means a pupil who, because of physical,
emotional, socioeconomic, or cultural factors, is less likely
to succeed in a conventional educational environment.
    "Authorizer" means an entity authorized under this Article
to review applications, decide whether to approve or reject
applications, enter into charter contracts with applicants,
oversee charter schools, and decide whether to renew, not
renew, or revoke a charter.
    "Commission" means the State Charter School Commission
established under Section 27A-7.5 of this Code.
    "Local school board" means the duly elected or appointed
school board or board of education of a public school district,
including special charter districts and school districts
located in cities having a population of more than 500,000,
organized under the laws of this State.
    "State Board" means the State Board of Education.
(Source: P.A. 89-450, eff. 4-10-96.)
 
    (105 ILCS 5/27A-5)
    Sec. 27A-5. Charter school; legal entity; requirements.
    (a) A charter school shall be a public, nonsectarian,
nonreligious, non-home based, and non-profit school. A charter
school shall be organized and operated as a nonprofit
corporation or other discrete, legal, nonprofit entity
authorized under the laws of the State of Illinois.
    (b) A charter school may be established under this Article
by creating a new school or by converting an existing public
school or attendance center to charter school status. Beginning
on the effective date of this amendatory Act of the 93rd
General Assembly, in all new applications submitted to the
State Board or a local school board to establish a charter
school in a city having a population exceeding 500,000,
operation of the charter school shall be limited to one campus.
The changes made to this Section by this amendatory Act of the
93rd General Assembly do not apply to charter schools existing
or approved on or before the effective date of this amendatory
Act.
    (c) A charter school shall be administered and governed by
its board of directors or other governing body in the manner
provided in its charter. The governing body of a charter school
shall be subject to the Freedom of Information Act and the Open
Meetings Act.
    (d) A charter school shall comply with all applicable
health and safety requirements applicable to public schools
under the laws of the State of Illinois.
    (e) Except as otherwise provided in the School Code, a
charter school shall not charge tuition; provided that a
charter school may charge reasonable fees for textbooks,
instructional materials, and student activities.
    (f) A charter school shall be responsible for the
management and operation of its fiscal affairs including, but
not limited to, the preparation of its budget. An audit of each
charter school's finances shall be conducted annually by an
outside, independent contractor retained by the charter
school. Annually, by December 1, every charter school must
submit to the State Board a copy of its audit and a copy of the
Form 990 the charter school filed that year with the federal
Internal Revenue Service.
    (g) A charter school shall comply with all provisions of
this Article, the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Act, and
its charter. A charter school is exempt from all other State
laws and regulations in the School Code governing public
schools and local school board policies, except the following:
        (1) Sections 10-21.9 and 34-18.5 of the School Code
    regarding criminal history records checks and checks of the
    Statewide Sex Offender Database and Statewide Child
    Murderer and Violent Offender Against Youth Database of
    applicants for employment;
        (2) Sections 24-24 and 34-84A of the School Code
    regarding discipline of students;
        (3) The Local Governmental and Governmental Employees
    Tort Immunity Act;
        (4) Section 108.75 of the General Not For Profit
    Corporation Act of 1986 regarding indemnification of
    officers, directors, employees, and agents;
        (5) The Abused and Neglected Child Reporting Act;
        (6) The Illinois School Student Records Act;
        (7) Section 10-17a of the School Code regarding school
    report cards; and
        (8) The P-20 Longitudinal Education Data System Act.
    The change made by Public Act 96-104 to this subsection (g)
is declaratory of existing law.
    (h) A charter school may negotiate and contract with a
school district, the governing body of a State college or
university or public community college, or any other public or
for-profit or nonprofit private entity for: (i) the use of a
school building and grounds or any other real property or
facilities that the charter school desires to use or convert
for use as a charter school site, (ii) the operation and
maintenance thereof, and (iii) the provision of any service,
activity, or undertaking that the charter school is required to
perform in order to carry out the terms of its charter.
However, a charter school that is established on or after the
effective date of this amendatory Act of the 93rd General
Assembly and that operates in a city having a population
exceeding 500,000 may not contract with a for-profit entity to
manage or operate the school during the period that commences
on the effective date of this amendatory Act of the 93rd
General Assembly and concludes at the end of the 2004-2005
school year. Except as provided in subsection (i) of this
Section, a school district may charge a charter school
reasonable rent for the use of the district's buildings,
grounds, and facilities. Any services for which a charter
school contracts with a school district shall be provided by
the district at cost. Any services for which a charter school
contracts with a local school board or with the governing body
of a State college or university or public community college
shall be provided by the public entity at cost.
    (i) In no event shall a charter school that is established
by converting an existing school or attendance center to
charter school status be required to pay rent for space that is
deemed available, as negotiated and provided in the charter
agreement, in school district facilities. However, all other
costs for the operation and maintenance of school district
facilities that are used by the charter school shall be subject
to negotiation between the charter school and the local school
board and shall be set forth in the charter.
    (j) A charter school may limit student enrollment by age or
grade level.
    (k) If the charter school is approved by the Commission,
then the Commission charter school is its own local education
agency.
(Source: P.A. 96-104, eff. 1-1-10; 96-105, eff. 7-30-09;
96-107, eff. 7-30-09; 96-734, eff. 8-25-09; 96-1000, eff.
7-2-10.)
 
    (105 ILCS 5/27A-7.5 new)
    Sec. 27A-7.5. State Charter School Commission.
    (a) A State Charter School Commission is established as an
independent State agency with statewide chartering
jurisdiction and authority.
    (b) The Commission is responsible for authorizing
high-quality charter schools throughout this State,
particularly schools designed to expand opportunities for
at-risk students, consistent with the purposes of this Article.
    (c) The Commission shall consist of 9 members, appointed by
the State Board. The State Board shall make these appointments
from a slate of candidates proposed by the Governor, within 60
days after the effective date of this amendatory Act of the
97th General Assembly with respect to the initial Commission
members. In making the appointments, the State Board shall
ensure statewide geographic diversity among Commission
members. The Governor shall propose a slate of candidates to
the State Board within 60 days after the effective date of this
amendatory Act of the 97th General Assembly and 60 days prior
to the expiration of the term of a member thereafter. If the
Governor fails to timely propose a slate of candidates
according to the provisions of this subsection (c), then the
State Board may appoint the member or members of the
Commission.
    (d) Members appointed to the Commission shall collectively
possess strong experience and expertise in public and nonprofit
governance, management and finance, public school leadership,
higher education, assessments, curriculum and instruction, and
public education law. All members of the Commission shall have
demonstrated understanding of and a commitment to public
education, including without limitation charter schooling. At
least 3 members must have past experience with urban charter
schools.
    (e) To establish staggered terms of office, the initial
term of office for 3 Commission members shall be 4 years and
thereafter shall be 4 years; the initial term of office for
another 3 members shall be 3 years and thereafter shall be 4
years; and the initial term of office for the remaining 3
members shall be 2 years and thereafter shall be 4 years. The
initial appointments must be made no later than October 1,
2011.
    (f) Whenever a vacancy on the Commission exists, the State
Board shall appoint a member for the remaining portion of the
term.
    (g) Subject to the State Officials and Employees Ethics
Act, the Commission is authorized to receive and expend gifts,
grants, and donations of any kind from any public or private
entity to carry out the purposes of this Article, subject to
the terms and conditions under which they are given, provided
that all such terms and conditions are permissible under law.
Funds received under this subsection (g) must be deposited into
the State Charter School Commission Fund.
    The State Charter School Commission Fund is created as a
special fund in the State treasury. All money in the Fund shall
be used, subject to appropriation, by the Commission for
operational and administrative costs of the Commission.
    (h) The Commission shall operate with dedicated resources
and staff qualified to execute the day-to-day responsibilities
of charter school authorizing in accordance with this Article.
    (i) Every 2 years, the Commission shall provide to the
State Board and local school boards a report on best practices
in charter school authorizing, including without limitation
evaluating applications, oversight of charters, and renewal of
charter schools.
    (j) The Commission may charge a charter school that it
authorizes a fee, not to exceed 3% of the revenue provided to
the school, to cover the cost of undertaking the ongoing
administrative responsibilities of the eligible chartering
authority with respect to the school. This fee must be
deposited into the State Charter School Commission Fund.
    (k) Any charter school authorized by the State Board prior
to this amendatory Act of the 97th General Assembly shall have
its authorization transferred to the Commission upon a vote of
the State Board, which shall then become the school's
authorizer for all purposes under this Article. However, in no
case shall such transfer take place later than July 1, 2012. At
this time, all of the powers, duties, assets, liabilities,
contracts, property, records, and pending business of the State
Board as the school's authorizer must be transferred to the
Commission. Any charter school authorized by a local school
board or boards may seek transfer of authorization to the
Commission during its current term only with the approval of
the local school board or boards. At the end of its charter
term, a charter school authorized by a local school board or
boards must reapply to the board or boards before it may apply
for authorization to the Commission under the terms of this
amendatory Act of the 97th General Assembly.
    On the effective date of this amendatory Act of the 97th
General Assembly, all rules of the State Board applicable to
matters falling within the responsibility of the Commission
shall be applicable to the actions of the Commission. The
Commission shall thereafter have the authority to propose to
the State Board modifications to all rules applicable to
matters falling within the responsibility of the Commission.
The State Board shall retain rulemaking authority for the
Commission, but shall work jointly with the Commission on any
proposed modifications. Upon recommendation of proposed rule
modifications by the Commission and pursuant to the Illinois
Administrative Procedure Act, the State Board shall consider
such changes within the intent of this amendatory Act of the
97th General Assembly and grant any and all changes consistent
with that intent.
    (l) The Commission shall have the responsibility to
consider appeals under this Article immediately upon
appointment of the initial members of the Commission under
subsection (c) of this Section. Appeals pending at the time of
initial appointment shall be determined by the Commission; the
Commission may extend the time for review as necessary for
thorough review, but in no case shall the extension exceed the
time that would have been available had the appeal been
submitted to the Commission on the date of appointment of its
initial members. In any appeal filed with the Commission under
this Article, both the applicant and the school district in
which the charter school plans to locate shall have the right
to request a hearing before the Commission. If more than one
entity requests a hearing, then the Commission may hold only
one hearing, wherein the applicant and the school district
shall have an equal opportunity to present their respective
positions.
 
    (105 ILCS 5/27A-7.10 new)
    Sec. 27A-7.10. Authorizer powers and duties; immunity;
principles and standards.
    (a) Authorizers are responsible for executing, in
accordance with this Article, all of the following powers and
duties:
        (1) Soliciting and evaluating charter applications.
        (2) Approving quality charter applications that meet
    identified educational needs and promote a diversity of
    educational choices.
        (3) Declining to approve weak or inadequate charter
    applications.
        (4) Negotiating and executing sound charter contracts
    with each approved charter school.
        (5) Monitoring, in accordance with charter contract
    terms, the performance and legal compliance of charter
    schools.
        (6) Determining whether each charter contract merits
    renewal, nonrenewal, or revocation.
    (b) An authorizing entity may delegate its duties to
officers, employees, and contractors.
    (c) Regulation by authorizers is limited to the powers and
duties set forth in subsection (a) of this Section and must be
consistent with the spirit and intent of this Article.
    (d) An authorizing entity, members of the local school
board, or the Commission, in their official capacity, and
employees of an authorizer are immune from civil and criminal
liability with respect to all activities related to a charter
school that they authorize, except for willful or wanton
misconduct.
    (e) The Commission and all local school boards that have a
charter school operating are required to develop and maintain
chartering policies and practices consistent with recognized
principles and standards for quality charter authorizing in all
major areas of authorizing responsibility, including all of the
following:
        (1) Organizational capacity and infrastructure.
        (2) Soliciting and evaluating charter applications.
        (3) Performance contracting.
        (4) Ongoing charter school oversight and evaluation.
        (5) Charter renewal decision-making.
    Authorizers shall carry out all their duties under this
Article in a manner consistent with nationally recognized
principles and standards and with the spirit and intent of this
Article.
 
    (105 ILCS 5/27A-8)
    Sec. 27A-8. Evaluation of charter proposals.
    (a) This Section does not apply to a charter school
established by referendum under Section 27A-6.5. In evaluating
any charter school proposal submitted to it, the local school
board and the Commission shall give preference to proposals
that:
        (1) demonstrate a high level of local pupil, parental,
    community, business, and school personnel support;
        (2) set rigorous levels of expected pupil achievement
    and demonstrate feasible plans for attaining those levels
    of achievement; and
        (3) are designed to enroll and serve a substantial
    proportion of at-risk children; provided that nothing in
    the Charter Schools Law shall be construed as intended to
    limit the establishment of charter schools to those that
    serve a substantial portion of at-risk children or to in
    any manner restrict, limit, or discourage the
    establishment of charter schools that enroll and serve
    other pupil populations under a nonexclusive,
    nondiscriminatory admissions policy.
    (b) In the case of a proposal to establish a charter school
by converting an existing public school or attendance center to
charter school status, evidence that the proposed formation of
the charter school has received majority support from certified
teachers and from parents and guardians in the school or
attendance center affected by the proposed charter, and, if
applicable, from a local school council, shall be demonstrated
by a petition in support of the charter school signed by
certified teachers and a petition in support of the charter
school signed by parents and guardians and, if applicable, by a
vote of the local school council held at a public meeting. In
the case of all other proposals to establish a charter school,
evidence of sufficient support to fill the number of pupil
seats set forth in the proposal may be demonstrated by a
petition in support of the charter school signed by parents and
guardians of students eligible to attend the charter school. In
all cases, the individuals, organizations, or entities who
initiate the proposal to establish a charter school may elect,
in lieu of including any petition referred to in this
subsection as a part of the proposal submitted to the local
school board, to demonstrate that the charter school has
received the support referred to in this subsection by other
evidence and information presented at the public meeting that
the local school board is required to convene under this
Section.
    (c) Within 45 days of receipt of a charter school proposal,
the local school board shall convene a public meeting to obtain
information to assist the board in its decision to grant or
deny the charter school proposal. A local school board may
develop its own process for receiving charter school proposals
on an annual basis that follows the same timeframes as set
forth in this Article. Only after the local school board
process is followed may a charter school applicant appeal to
the Commission.
    (d) Notice of the public meeting required by this Section
shall be published in a community newspaper published in the
school district in which the proposed charter is located and,
if there is no such newspaper, then in a newspaper published in
the county and having circulation in the school district. The
notices shall be published not more than 10 days nor less than
5 days before the meeting and shall state that information
regarding a charter school proposal will be heard at the
meeting. Copies of the notice shall also be posted at
appropriate locations in the school or attendance center
proposed to be established as a charter school, the public
schools in the school district, and the local school board
office. If 45 days pass without the local school board holding
a public meeting, then the charter applicant may submit the
proposal to the Commission, where it must be addressed in
accordance with the provisions set forth in subsection (g) of
this Section.
    (e) Within 30 days of the public meeting, the local school
board shall vote, in a public meeting, to either grant or deny
the charter school proposal. If the local school board has not
voted in a public meeting within 30 days after the public
meeting, then the charter applicant may submit the proposal to
the Commission, where it must be addressed in accordance with
the provisions set forth in subsection (g) of this Section.
    (f) Within 7 days of the public meeting required under
subsection (e) of this Section, the local school board shall
file a report with the State Board granting or denying the
proposal. If the local school board has approved the proposal,
within Within 30 days of receipt of the local school board's
report, the State Board shall determine whether the approved
charter proposal is consistent with the provisions of this
Article and, if the approved proposal complies, certify the
proposal pursuant to Section 27A-6; provided that for any
charter proposal submitted to the State Board within one year
after July 30, 2009 (the effective date of Public Act 96-105),
the State Board shall have 60 days from receipt to determine
such consistency and certify the proposal.
    (g) If the local school board votes to deny the proposal,
then the charter school applicant has 30 days from the date of
that vote to submit an appeal to the Commission. In such
instances or in those instances referenced in subsections (d)
and (e) of this Section, the Commission shall follow the same
process and be subject to the same timelines for review as the
local school board.
    (h) The Commission may reverse a local school board's
decision to deny a charter school proposal if the Commission
finds that the proposal (i) is in compliance with this Article
and (ii) is in the best interests of the students the charter
school is designed to serve. Final decisions of the Commission
are subject to judicial review under the Administrative Review
Law.
    (i) In the case of a charter school proposed to be jointly
authorized by 2 or more school districts, the local school
boards may unanimously deny the charter school proposal with a
statement that the local school boards are not opposed to the
charter school, but that they yield to the Commission in light
of the complexities of joint administration.
(Source: P.A. 96-105, eff. 7-30-09; 96-734, eff. 8-25-09;
96-1000, eff. 7-2-10.)
 
    (105 ILCS 5/27A-9)
    Sec. 27A-9. Term of charter; renewal.
    (a) A charter may be granted for a period not less than 5
and not more than 10 school years. A charter may be renewed in
incremental periods not to exceed 5 school years.
    (b) A charter school renewal proposal submitted to the
local school board or the Commission State Board, as the
chartering entity, shall contain:
        (1) A report on the progress of the charter school in
    achieving the goals, objectives, pupil performance
    standards, content standards, and other terms of the
    initial approved charter proposal; and
        (2) A financial statement that discloses the costs of
    administration, instruction, and other spending categories
    for the charter school that is understandable to the
    general public and that will allow comparison of those
    costs to other schools or other comparable organizations,
    in a format required by the State Board.
    (c) A charter may be revoked or not renewed if the local
school board or the Commission State Board, as the chartering
entity, clearly demonstrates that the charter school did any of
the following, or otherwise failed to comply with the
requirements of this law:
        (1) Committed a material violation of any of the
    conditions, standards, or procedures set forth in the
    charter.
        (2) Failed to meet or make reasonable progress toward
    achievement of the content standards or pupil performance
    standards identified in the charter.
        (3) Failed to meet generally accepted standards of
    fiscal management.
        (4) Violated any provision of law from which the
    charter school was not exempted.
    In the case of revocation, the local school board or the
Commission State Board, as the chartering entity, shall notify
the charter school in writing of the reason why the charter is
subject to revocation. The charter school shall submit a
written plan to the local school board or the Commission State
Board, whichever is applicable, to rectify the problem. The
plan shall include a timeline for implementation, which shall
not exceed 2 years or the date of the charter's expiration,
whichever is earlier. If the local school board or the
Commission State Board, as the chartering entity, finds that
the charter school has failed to implement the plan of
remediation and adhere to the timeline, then the chartering
entity shall revoke the charter. Except in situations of an
emergency where the health, safety, or education of the charter
school's students is at risk, the revocation shall take place
at the end of a school year. Nothing in this amendatory Act of
the 96th General Assembly shall be construed to prohibit an
implementation timetable that is less than 2 years in duration.
    (d) (Blank).
    (e) Notice of a local school board's decision to deny,
revoke or not to renew a charter shall be provided to the
Commission and the State Board. The Commission State Board may
reverse a local board's decision if the Commission State Board
finds that the charter school or charter school proposal (i) is
in compliance with this Article, and (ii) is in the best
interests of the students it is designed to serve. The State
Board may condition the granting of an appeal on the acceptance
by the charter school of funding in an amount less than that
requested in the proposal submitted to the local school board.
Final decisions of the Commission State Board shall be subject
to judicial review under the Administrative Review Law.
    (f) Notwithstanding other provisions of this Article, if
the Commission State Board on appeal reverses a local board's
decision or if a charter school is approved by referendum, the
Commission State Board shall act as the authorized chartering
entity for the charter school. The Commission State Board shall
approve and certify the charter and shall perform all functions
under this Article otherwise performed by the local school
board. The State Board shall determine whether the charter
proposal approved by the Commission is consistent with the
provisions of this Article and, if the approved proposal
complies, certify the proposal pursuant to this Article. The
State Board shall report the aggregate number of charter school
pupils resident in a school district to that district and shall
notify the district of the amount of funding to be paid by the
Commission State Board to the charter school enrolling such
students. The Commission State Board shall require the charter
school to maintain accurate records of daily attendance that
shall be deemed sufficient to file claims under Section 18-8.05
notwithstanding any other requirements of that Section
regarding hours of instruction and teacher certification. The
State Board shall withhold from funds otherwise due the
district the funds authorized by this Article to be paid to the
charter school and shall pay such amounts to the charter
school.
    (g) For charter schools authorized by the Commission, the
Commission shall quarterly certify to the State Board the
student enrollment for each of its charter schools.
    (h) For charter schools authorized by the Commission, the
State Board shall pay directly to a charter school any federal
or State aid attributable to a student with a disability
attending the school.
(Source: P.A. 96-105, eff. 7-30-09.)
 
    (105 ILCS 5/27A-12)
    Sec. 27A-12. Evaluation; report. On or before September 30
of every odd-numbered year, all local school boards with at
least one charter school, as well as the Commission, shall
submit to the State Board any information required by the State
Board pursuant to applicable rule. On or before the second
Wednesday in January of every even-numbered year, the State
Board shall issue a report to the General Assembly and the
Governor on its findings for the previous 2 school years. The
State Board's report shall summarize all of the following:
        (1) The authorizer's strategic vision for chartering
    and progress toward achieving that vision.
        (2) The academic and financial performance of all
    operating charter schools overseen by the authorizer,
    according to the performance expectations for charter
    schools set forth in this Article.
        (3) The status of the authorizer's charter school
    portfolio, identifying all charter schools in each of the
    following categories: approved (but not yet open),
    operating, renewed, transferred, revoked, not renewed,
    voluntarily closed, or never opened.
        (4) The authorizing functions provided by the
    authorizer to the charter schools under its purview,
    including the authorizer's operating costs and expenses
    detailed in annual audited financial statements, which
    must conform with generally accepted accounting
    principles. Board shall compile annual evaluations of
    charter schools received from local school boards and shall
    prepare an annual report on charter schools.
    On or before the second Wednesday of every even-numbered
year, the State Board shall issue a report to the General
Assembly and the Governor on its findings for the previous 2
school years; provided that the report issued in 2010 need only
report on the 2008-2009 school year.
    Further, in In the report required by this Section, the
State Board (i) shall compare the performance of charter school
pupils with the performance of ethnically and economically
comparable groups of pupils in other public schools who are
enrolled in academically comparable courses, (ii) shall review
information regarding the regulations and policies from which
charter schools were released to determine if the exemptions
assisted or impeded the charter schools in meeting their stated
goals and objectives, and (iii) shall include suggested changes
in State law necessary to strengthen charter schools.
    In addition, the State Board shall undertake and report on
periodic evaluations of charter schools that include
evaluations of student academic achievement, the extent to
which charter schools are accomplishing their missions and
goals, the sufficiency of funding for charter schools, and the
need for changes in the approval process for charter schools.
    Based on the information that the State Board receives from
authorizers and the State Board's ongoing monitoring of both
charter schools and authorizers, the State Board has the power
to remove the power to authorize from any authorizer in this
State if the authorizer does not demonstrate a commitment to
high-quality authorization practices and, if necessary, revoke
the chronically low-performing charters authorized by the
authorizer at the time of the removal. The State Board shall
adopt rules as needed to carry out this power, including
provisions to determine the status of schools authorized by an
authorizer whose authorizing power is revoked.
(Source: P.A. 96-105, eff. 7-30-09.)
 
    Section 99. Effective date. This Act takes effect upon
becoming law.

Effective Date: 7/20/2011